The Thames River Basin Partnership and the Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative may span different geographic regions, but they have similar ideas and missions. The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative focuses on the Salmon Falls Watershed in Southeastern Maine and Northeastern New Hampshire. The Thames River Basin Partnership operates in the Thames River Watershed that spans Southern Worcester county, Massachusetts, and Eastern Connecticut. Both groups approach natural resource protection through an emphasis on ground and surface water planning and management. Each hosts an annual event to engage and educate municipal officials, citizens, local businesses, lake associations, watershed groups, and other conservation and water supply organizations within their regional conservation partnership. By bringing together the partners in this manner, these events foster a sense of community and commitment within their RCPs.
This year the Thames River Basin Partnership put on their 18th annual Floating Workshop with the theme of river continuity. Groton, CT-based education and research nonprofit Project Oceanology donated the use of their Envirolab research vessel, allowing participants to hear from CT DEEP fisheries biologists on fragmented stream habitat, USGS on flood plain mapping, and Project O staff on the impact of upstream land practices, all while floating down the Thames River. To boost participation from municipal staff and leaders, TRBP offered scholarships to help defray the cost of attendance. The floating workshops have a different theme each year and have covered topics such as the changing coastline of Connecticut, the water quality initiative in Little River, and smart growth/smart conservation to name a few.
Similarly, the Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative’s annual Success Safari highlights the projects and initiatives of their partners. This year’s Success Safari explored the towns of Somersworth and Milton, New Hampshire, and included stops where participants could learn about invasive species, conservation efforts, and the important role of the river as a drinking source. Participants toured the Somersworth Water Treatment Plant, learned about the invasive European Nyad in the Milton Three Ponds area, and finished at the town protected forest on Casey Road in Milton to discuss protection of the property and cyanobacteria monitoring in Rochester’s reservoirs.
Both events highlight the ongoing projects of their regional conservation partners, while providing interactive education for participants on the importance of these projects to resource conservation and specifically water quality in their respective regions. Aside from updates and education, Salmon Falls believes their Safari serves to engage and reaffirm among members of the regional conservation partnership, “a commitment to work together on issues impacting the watershed.” This engagement serves as a simple reminder that together, as dedicated members of a regional conservation partnership, they can achieve conservation on a larger scale and at a faster pace. The partners learn and have fun together during these events, a winning combination that helps to keep the collaborative energy strong!
Participants of the 2018 Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative Success Safari listening to Chief Operator, Greg Kirchofer, during a tour of the Somersworth Water Treatment Plant.